Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Pastor's Page: Father John Ubel of St Agnes on the Motu Proprio

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United in Faith and Prayer: More Thoughts on the Motu Proprio

This weekend is marks the official start to a new era in the liturgical life of the Church. With the implementation
date for Summorum Pontificum set for September 14th, new possibilities have been opened up throughout
the Church. I think that the situation here at Saint Agnes is unique, precisely because we have maintained
a highly reverent Latin Mass since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. My experience has been that in
general people are very comfortable with how the Mass is celebrated at this parish. That being said, I have
heard from some who are interested in exploring the implementation of the extraordinary form (i.e. the 1962
Missal) here at Saint Agnes. While it is not a large number, to be honest, I take their requests seriously.

These requests are heartfelt and sincere, as have been the comments from some of you who honestly prefer
the liturgy as it is currently celebrated. All of this puts your still relatively new pastor in an interesting position.
True, adding an additional Mass offered according to the 1962 Missal would impose nothing upon anyone
who is comfortable the 1970 Missal, be it Latin or English. However, we are not in a position to add an extra
Sunday Mass. We celebrate five per weekend, a more than sufficient number. Many parishes of similar size
(845 families) offer just three Masses per weekend.

The other aspect worth considering is the time that would be needed to train both the people and the servers
(not to mention the priests!) in the proper and reverent celebration of the 1962 Missal. There are definite differences
between the two. It serves no one any good to rush into these changes; they deserve to be prepared
for in an intelligent and purposeful manner. Above all, I want to maintain and foster unity within the parish by
means of the reverent celebration of the Mass and other sacraments. This ideal will always remain paramount
in my mind and in my prayer.

Therefore, I would like to propose that we initiate a study of this issue by looking at introducing the 1962
Missal on some Saturday mornings beginning, after an appropriate period of preparation and education. The
Saturday Mass is already a sung Latin Mass (1970 version), and the daily chapel Mass would provide a fitting
setting in which our congregation could experience the riches of the 1962 Missal. I have asked for the assistance
of our able deacons to help arrange some study sessions to familiarize interested parishioners. Stay tuned
for more details.

---- I attended a wonderful gathering of priests last Monday evening, the purpose of which was to welcome
Archbishop Nienstedt in our midst. We prayed Vespers together followed by a delicious dinner, good fellowship
and an address from our new Coadjutor. Archbishop Nienstedt mentioned to me that he is looking
forward to celebrating an all-school Mass next month at Saint Agnes. We will be sure to pull out all the
stops for his visit!

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. John L. Ubel
Pastor
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